Aspen Untucked: They grow up so fast |

Aspen Untucked: They grow up so fast

by barbara platts

Perhaps it’s the springing of spring or the lack of things to do in the quiet season, but our youngest pup is going through some changes.

If you remember, roughly a year ago, I wrote a column about adopting a second dog. My boyfriend and I first adopted a border collie-German shepherd mix in November 2014. We got him from the Aspen Animal Shelter and named him Cassius/Cash. Last year, we made the decision to get him a friend, adopting an eight-week Australian shepherd-husky-golden retriever mix from a shelter on the Front Range. We named her June. And yes, it was because of Johnny Cash and June Carter.

June was intensely shy at first. She hid under the couch, scared of new places and loud sounds. It took her a good month or so before she would even go in our kitchen. She finally realized that the crumbs that often dropped on the floor were worth enduring the loud sounds of the dishwasher for. Cash also helped her come out of her shell, teaching her how to sit, shake, beg for treats, and — most fortunate for us — relieve herself outside. At first, June followed Cash everywhere, mimicking his every move like a little sibling often does. I’m not sure she even held my boyfriend and I in very high regard for quite a while. In her mind, Cash was her parent and the only mammal she needed.

However, as of late, June seems to be coming into her own a bit more. As the prepubescent dog years are coming to a close, it seems like June is, well, for lack of a better word: horny. Like an excitable virgin who just arrived at college, she is eager to mount up to objects on occasion, but more often to Cash’s behind. Once she finds a good and sturdy position, she thrusts toward him, looking up at us as she does it with a big smile on her face.

Thinking it was cute at first, my boyfriend and I just laughed off the dominant behavior, even giving her supportive hoots and hollers on occasion. We thought she was finally coming out of her shell and asserting herself. But it’s possible that it’s now gone too far.

Certainly these are the teenage years we’re approaching with June. Aside from the humping, she’s also starting to dig holes in the backyard and has developed a somewhat assertive bark when strangers walk by outside. The newfound confidence is comforting, in a way, because she started out so withdrawn and shy. But I also worry about our plants, and our neighbors, and poor Cash, all of whom have to endure her somewhat cocky attitude.

Luckily, from what I’m reading, this should be mostly a phase. The teenage years are a developmental stage that dogs hit at about a year old. They become rebellious when they realize there are other things in this great big world besides their owners. It’s similar to how human teenagers act, testing the boundaries, disobeying their parents, and humping just about anything that moves. From all of the online doggie literature I’ve looked into, these tendencies of June’s will pass. But for the sake of good old Cash, I hope this passes sooner rather than later.

Now I must go. It looks like she’s getting ready to mount him again.

Barbara Platts loves being a dog owner, even in the more trying times. Reach her at or on Twitter @BarbaraPlatts.